The CHR is delighted to be participating to the thematic session “The arts and rethinking the subject” as part of the first edition of the French-South African Science and Innovation Days .
The session, on Monday 2nd of December, from 10h00 to 12h00, is organised by the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape.
Crystal Room, CSIR International Convention Centre.
The CHR’s session will platform the latest research emerging from collaborations between scholars, graduate students and artists in residence. The CHR’s seminar explores new ways of imagining and performing subjectivity to deepen our understanding of the work of imagination at a time of accelerated technological and environmental change. In this, the thought of Henri Bergson articulated through Souleymane Bachir Diagne’s reading of Leopold Senghor has been seminal to the CHR’s research which connects aesthetics to domains of artistic creation as sites to engage the dynamics of these rapid changes. The seminar proposes to explore how, and to what ends, artistic practices such as video installation, puppetry, and performance might help us to rethink the subject whilst troubling notions of species, race, gender and identity formation, as well as ideas of “development” and “progress”, all foundational concept categories shared by the Humanities and Sciences across the current and previous century.
The panel will be composed as follows:
Dr Tegan Bristow
Senior Lecturer, University of the Witwatersrand, Director of Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival
Tegan Bristow holds an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts, painting to be specific. In the Honours year of this degree she became very interested in computers and coding and started teaching herself how to code and work creatively with computers. This led her to a Masters Degree in Interactive Digital Media at Wits with the Digital Arts Division of the Wits School of Arts in 2007.
Following her graduation, Tegan was hired by Wits to run this same MA program, and has been running it and other initiatives in this field at Wits for the last ten years. In this time Tegan was also fortunate to develop her own creative career as an interactive digital media artists and as a researcher in the field. In 2012 she started her PhD focusing specifically on understanding and unpacking the role of culture and technology in Africa. This took her on a five year research trajectory that into exploring cultures of technology in Africa, with particular focus on Nairobi and Johannesburg as cases. This research led not only to her completed dissertation, but an important exhibition produced with the Goodman Gallery titled “Post African Futures” and further development of platforms for showing and engaging African Digital Cultures. Though still employed by Wits, she is since 2016 the Director of the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival.
Prof. Heidi Grunebaum
Acting director, Centre for Humanities Research (CHR), University of Western Cape (UWC)
The arts of encounter: research, translations and activations
Heidi Grunebaum is currently the Acting Director of the Centre for Humanities Research, where she works on the research theme, Aesthetics and Politics and with the Factory of the Arts. Grunebaum’s work focuses on social and aesthetic responses to the afterlives of genocide, war and mass violence and on the Holocaust, apartheid and the Palestine Nakba, in particular. Her research interests include Holocaust and genocide studies; critical memory studies; aesthetics and politics; comparative literary, film and narrative studies; postcolonial theory and public culture.
Grunebaum is author of the monograph, Memorializing the Past: Everyday Life in South Africa after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (New Jersey: Transaction, 2011) co-editor, with Emile Maurice, of Uncontained: Opening the Community Arts Project Archive (Cape Town: CHR, 2012) and Athlone in Mind (Cape Town CHR, 2017) with curator, Kurt Campbell. With Mark J Kaplan she made the documentary film, The Village Under the Forest (2013), which received the audience award for Best South African Documentary Film at Encounters International Documentary Film Festival in 2013. Grunebaum has published in Current Writing, Research in African Literatures, Fantomas, the PMLA, Encounters: International Journal on Culture and Society, Third Text Africa, Southern African Anthropology and Critical Arts amongst others. Her poetry is published in Botsotso Journal for South African Arts and Cultures and Running Towards Us: New Writing from South Africa (Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2000) and New Contrast.
Dr Dee Marco
Department of Media studies, University of the Witwatersrand
Race and memory: cinema and movement
A Department of Film and Television Studies alumnus, Dee holds a tenure track lecturer position in the department. Dee was supervised by Professor Charlotte Brunsdon and graduated from the department in 2016, with a PhD entitled Films about South Africa 1987 – 2014: Representations of ‘The Rainbow’.
Mr Itumeleng Wa Lehulere
Artistic Director, Factory of the Arts, CHR, UWC
The subject, theatre and language
Itumeleng’s life in the arts and political fraternities spans over thirty years. Beginning as an activist in apartheid South Africa. He’s was renowned as a very influential figure, that many young men and women listened to and followed. He played a significant role in the formation of COSAS in the Western Cape, while playing a prominent role in the church, being part of the choir and playing marimba for the St Gabriel’s Catholic Church. His artistic career started as a poet, musician and dancer who later worked with Gibson Kente Productions in Johannesburg, playing lead roles along side Brenda Fassie in “Hungary Spoon”. Affectionately known as Bra E, he has conceptualized and directed a number of prominent pieces of provocative pieces for theatre, like…
- “You strike the woman, You Strike the Rock”
- “Down Adderly Street”
- “Gap toothed Sisters
- “Roxy” the musical
- “Diaries of my Womanhood”
- “Red Winter”
- “Echoes of our Footsteps”
All of which were played out in the major theaters of South and abroad, spanning a period of over 20 years.After completing his performance Diploma under the prolific Professor Mavis Taylor, Itumeleng worked with many Directors in Theatre that include, Barney Simon, Janice Honeyman, Ester van Ryswerk, Mark Fleishman to name a few. Itumeleng has also worked intensively with the legendary Mike van Graan at the Community Arts Project School of Popular Theatre. His best work appeared at the Market theatre under owners of The Handspring Puppet Companies Basil Jones and Adrian Kholer in a production entitled “Carnival of the Bear”. Itumeleng was instrumental in the forming of the Market Theatre laboratory along side Mark Fleishman under the leadership of Mannie Manim and Barney Simon. Itumeleng has taught at the following institutions:
- Alexander Arts Center(JHB)
- Fuba Academy(JHB)
- New world Foundation(CT)
- Community Arts Project(CT)
- Tutored at the University of Cape Town Drama School
Itumeleng was one of few actors to be contracted to the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal(1990). He has since been commissioned by
- City of Cape Town(writer/director: Affirmative Action Education program)
Which was converted into a video drama also directed by Itumeleng.
- 2004 Cape Town Olympic Bid Company(concept/script/director National Roadshow Tour)
- Department of Transport(writer/director: Arrive Alive Road Show)
- Department of Arts and Culture(writer/director Heritage Day Celebrations
Alongside Maestro Duke Ngcukana)
Itumeleng then moved on to found and Directed for twelve years the multi award winning Ikhwezi Annual Theatre Festival in Association with the Baxter Theatre Center at the University of Cape Town under the astute leadership of Mannie Manim. The Festival was chosen as the Cultural Development Project of the year(2004). Itumeleng is also very interested and involved in writing, directing and acting in television series and movies, latest of which was conceptualizing, writing and directing the acclaimed romantic comedy Forced Loved produced by Penguin Films.
Itumeleng was the Artistic Director of the Jozi Bookfair, hosted by Khanya College at Wits University (2014-2016). Itumeleng is an intellectual who strives to tell current and thought provoking works, that speak to the times. His approach to theatre is avoiding the over use of props to encourage the Actor to use his/her instrument(body and voice) to tell the story holistically.
“Itumeleng wa-Lehulere is an an amazing name for an amazing Talent!” Barry Ronge, after itumeleng’s nomination as the best young talent in South Africa by the Sunday Time (1989).
Prof. Jane Taylor
A.W. Mellon Chair in Aesthetic theory and material performance, CHR, UWC
Of moving and being moved: the affect and effect of live puppetry art in rural communities
Professor Jane Taylor, who is the newly appointed Andrew W Mellon Chair of Aesthetic Theory and Material Performance, has a history of scholarly as well as creative work within these domains. She has written several plays for puppets, working with artist William Kentridge and Handspring Puppet Company, as well as a recent puppet play for Renaissance scholar Stephen Greenblatt – a work dealing with the early history of neurology. She has written a novel on transplants, and most recently has completed a monograph on William Kentridge’s production of The Nose, for the New York Met. (This study explores the subject/object relation, as well as the aesthetic experiments associated with Soviet Constructionism).